Hope Theatre, London – 9 June 2018
First performed at south London’s Brockley Jack Studio, this year Adam & Eve transfers to the Hope Theatre in Islington. This 65-minute play, written by Tim Cook and produced by award-winning company Broken Silence Theatre, explores the nature of trust in the face of accusation – an enduringly pertinent topic.
Adam and Eve met at school, feeling an instant attraction or love at first sight (depending on which one you ask) – the fact that one is called Eve and the other Adam is taken as a sign, and they become inseparable. She’s an estate agent, he’s an English teacher, and they decide it’s best to leave the city for the countryside; they want to start a family, so this feels like the best way for them to realise that dream. The wheels start to fall off when Adam is accused of inappropriate behaviour by a female student, leading to his suspension and the threat of a court case. His evasiveness when Eve asks him for details forces her to start questioning how well she actually knows him – can she still trust him? Or is the student telling the truth?
Given the current climate, and the ongoing actions of the #MeToo movement, it seems like a good time to explore what happens when accusations are made, and also what happens at a personal level – to the accused and the people in their lives. Its inclusion of Jane Eyre (a coursework topic set by Adam) also leads into a look at feminism, as Charlotte Brontë’s novel incorporates proto-feminism as well as being a romance.
Whilst it does almost manage to convince you of one side of the ‘he said, she said’ argument, before finally revealing the truth towards the end, it isn’t quite convincing enough – so it leaves you in a bit of a muddle for a few scenes, rather than feeling certain you know what happened. Perhaps this is the intention, but as all three characters are actually rather irritating in their own ways, it’s quite a frustrating watch.
In some ways, I think it would benefit from being extended slightly. There are a lot of scenes, some of them incredibly short, and often it doesn’t feel like they’ve had the chance to really dig into what’s going on; by making it a bit longer, these scenes might not feel so rushed and it might give characters more of an opportunity to convince us of their side of the story. Also, as someone who has worked in a school, some things just don’t ring true (the apparent lack of a disciplinary process for students, non-staff members being allowed free access to the school).
I’m not sure it works in the round. More often than not, I found myself having to stare at the back of an actor’s head rather than see any of their faces, adding to my frustration. A thrust or traverse setup would provide the same sort of feel, if surrounding the action is what director Jennifer Davis is going for, but gives the audience a better deal. Adam & Eve have a few scenes where they talk directly to the audience, and Lee Knight & Jeannie Dickinson do their best on these occasions to make the whole room feel included.
For me, the whole thing is a little unconvincing (in detail and in pace), however it’s definitely an interesting area to be exploring – now more than ever. If nothing else, it serves as a good starting point for discussion on the messy business of accusations.
Adam & Eve
Photo credit: Broken Silence Theatre
My verdict? A slightly frustrating hour of theatre, but a good starting point for discussions – some pertinent themes begin to be uncovered.
Adam and Eve runs at the Hope Theatre until 9 June 2018. Tickets are available online or from the box office.
Tags: Adam and Eve, Broken Silence Theatre, Hope Theatre, Jeannie Dickinson, Jennifer Davis, Lee Knight, London, Off West End, review, theatre, Tim CookCategories: all posts, review, theatre
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